The Annual General Meeting of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) brought some very positive news on efforts to reduce the availability of indecent images of children on the Internet. Thanks to the self-regulatory action of UK hosting providers only a tiny fraction of illegal images reported to IWF are hosted in the UK – down from 18% when the IWF was founded – and those are removed quickly when the IWF notifies the hosting site. It also appears that action by law enforcement and industry is forcing criminals who sell such images on-line to change their tactics, making it less likely that users will accidentally stumble over them.
JANET(UK) supports the IWF with funding and active participation in its Funding Council and Working Groups. As in our response to the Parliamentary All-Party Communications Group’s Enquiry we consider that the best long term solutions to illegal content on the Internet are removal at source combined with locally-managed filtering to protect users from accidental exposure to content that is either illegal or inappropriate for them.